Construction sites can be dangerous places to work if you don’t have the proper safety training and aren’t aware of the risks.
Licensed contractors and construction workers should practice job site and construction safety since serious injuries can keep them out of work, affect earnings, increase insurance rates and even damage their reputation.
In this article, we’ll outline construction safety tips, common construction injuries and what to do if you have a safety concern or sustain an injury on the job site.
Know specific job hazards
Contractors move between multiple job sites and each site’s risks are unique and can change at a moment’s notice. As work is completed and materials and tools move around, the risk at each job site is always in flux.
Toolbox talks are the best way to stay on top of the safety risks on a daily or shift basis. These talks are brief staff meetings that allow contractors to inform crews of the day’s work and what risks they need to be aware of on the job site. They can also be used to share and update safety measures in construction. If toolbox talks aren’t happening, speak with management.
Correct equipment training
Knowing how to properly operate equipment tops our list of construction safety tips. Regular equipment and safety training can keep equipment and safety knowledge fresh and up-to-date.
If it’s been some time since your last training, refer to equipment manuals for best practices and injury prevention before using it.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) should be required for all construction workers. PPE may include:
- Ear plugs
- Hard hats or helmets
- High-visibility clothing (e.g. brightly colored and/or reflective)
- Protective eyewear, such as goggles or safety glasses
- Reinforced boots (e.g. steel toe)
Contractors and construction crews must also be trained and have regular refreshers on best practices for how and when to use PPE.
Read work hazard signs
Pay attention to signage placed around a job site. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires signs to alert workers of certain risks. Construction safety signs can alert you of the kind of work occurring, closures and which PPE is needed to work in a specific area.
Keep work area clean
Trash, debris and equipment that has been left out increase the risk of trips and falls. Try to clean as you work and be sure to tidy your work area at the end of each shift, so it’s ready for the next day.
Use the correct tools & equipment
Make sure you use the right tools for the job. Using the wrong equipment, whether to save time or in a pinch, can increase the risk of accident and injury, not to mention potentially faulty workmanship.
Have a checklist for equipment
Damaged equipment won’t perform as expected and increases the risk of accidents. Check that equipment is in working order before you use it. A checklist can help you avoid any potential problems.
Make management aware of any issues
Inform management or the general contractor of any hazards you notice on the job so they can prioritize construction safety.
Have an emergency accident plan
Identify who to contact in case of an emergency and what the policies are when a crisis or accident happens. Ensure everyone on the crew has this information so everyone is on the same page for reporting and resolving hazards.
Crews should have a way to efficiently communicate with each other, such as cell phones or walkie-talkies, to report incidents as soon as possible.
Most common accidents in construction
According to OSHA, the most common construction accidents are:
- Caught in or between hazards
- Struck-by hazards
In addition to these risks, construction workers who regularly lift heavy loads or repetitive motions are at risk for movement-related injuries.
Construction accidents can lead to the following health conditions:
- Aches and pain
- Back injuries
- Broken bones
- Cuts and wounds
- Eye injury
- Hearing damage or loss
- Joint pain
- Repetitive strain injury
Visit urgent care for construction injuries
If you need help assessing and treating a construction-related injury, at our urgent care centers. You can walk in or save your spot online. We’ll have you back to feeling better in no time.
Shaw, G. 2021. WebMD. Workplace Health and Safety. Accessed: January 12, 2023. https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/workplace-health-safety
Occupational Health and Safety Administration. Top Four Construction Hazards. Accessed: January 12, 2023. https://www.osha.gov/sites/default/files/publications/construction_hazards_qc.pdf
Earnest, S, et al. 2020. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Preventing Struck-by Injuries in Construction. Accessed: January 12, 2023. https://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2020/10/01/struck-by-injuries/
2000. WebMD. Repetitive Strain Injury. Accessed: January 12, 2023. https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/repetitive-strain-injury